Sex & Intimacy Work

Sex & Intimacy Work

Home Modalities Sex & Intimacy Work

The Trauma Culprit

When we experience trauma, our safety and boundaries are violated.  This has a domino effect on our lives.

Throughout our website, you will find a lot of information on negative behavior patterns, but this also includes negative response patterns. One of those often impacted by trauma is sex and intimacy.

Trauma often keeps us in a state of fight or flight, making it difficult to experience healthy relationships – with ourselves and with others.  It is difficult to maintain a healthy relationship, especially sexual and intimate relationships that rely on safety and vulnerability, when we are in a constant state of survival, uncertainty, escape, panic, etc. 

Sex & Intimacy Work
Sex & Intimacy Work

Common misconceptions are that sex behavior is more impacted when there has been sexual trauma.  While certainly correlated, it is not the only type of trauma that can trigger sex and intimacy issues.  

All types of trauma affect our safety.  

Being intimate, sexual, and loving with ourselves and others relies on healthy levels of feeling safe.

It only makes sense that our ability to do so is threatened when we unresolved trauma – of any kind.

Let’s Talk About Sex

It is important to understand what sex and intimacy are so we can better explain how at The Bridge to Recovery, we help individuals heal and overcome sex and intimacy struggles.

sex·u·al·i·ty

/sekSHo͞oˈalədē/

noun

capacity for sexual feelings

These feelings can include:

  • Biological Sexual Desires
  • Erotic Desires
  • Social Sexual Desires
  • Spiritual and Sexual Relationship

And much more.

in·ti·ma·cy

/in(t)əməsē/

noun

close familiarity or friendship; closeness

Types of intimacy can include (but certainly not limited to):

  • Sexual Intimacy: Engaging in sexual activities.
  • Intellectual Intimacy: Sharing of thoughts and ideas.
  • Emotional Intimacy: Sharing of feelings.
Sex & Intimacy Work

Sex & Shame

Because sex carries with it a lot of shame in our society, when we experience sexual trauma or our trauma creates sex and intimacy struggles, we carry an overwhelming amount of shame.  

Whereas anxiety, depression, and some other mental health issues are gaining momentum in ridding societal stigma, sex is certainly not.  It is the one that is left in the shadows of shame, unrelenting, full of embarrassing feelings and closeted behavior.  

At The Bridge to Recovery, we help our clients heal from their unresolved trauma, understand and let go of their shame, and their unwanted and unhealthy behaviors so that they may move forward to enjoy happy and healthy sexual and intimate relationships.

Some of the sex and intimacy issues our clients identify as causing problems in their lives:

  • Marital (or outside the relationship) Affairs
  • Prostitution or Selling Sex
  • Excessive Masturbation
  • Inability to Masturbate or Engage in Self Sex
  • Seeking out Unhealthy Sex (unsafe sex practices, numbing sex behavior, etc.)
  • Engaging in Abusive or Physically Damaging Sex
  • Avoiding Intimate or Sexual Relationship All Together
  • Fear of Commitment
  • Addiction to Dating Apps
  • Inability to Engage in Partner Sex
  • Painful Sex
  • Inability to Show Affection (i.e. holding hands, touch, rubbing, etc.) 
  • Pornography Addiction (or used in and unhealthy manner)
  • Voyeurism
  • Public Sex or a Desire to be Caught
  • Serial Dating & Sex
  • Inability to be True to Sexual Orientation/Identity

This list is certainly not comprehensive, but is some of the most common ones self-reported to us.  These are all symptoms of trauma, which is the common denominator amongst all of our clients – the pain they carry from their unresolved trauma.

Sex & Intimacy Healing at The Bridge to Recovery

In order to heal the behavior and emotional response system, we must heal the trauma.  You can visit our page on healing trauma here for more in depth information.  

However, in short, we need the opportunity to 

  • Uncover and discover our pain.
  • Understand our shame.
  • Reclaim our identity.  

This is what we do at The Bridge to Recovery, and by doing so, we are able to further address the unhealthy and unhelpful behavior patterns we have used to survive.

Clients struggling with sex and intimacy issues begin to reclaim their sexual identity by:

Sex & Intimacy Work

Regaining Safety

When safety is taken from us because of our trauma, it must be reestablished before we can regain our sexual self.  Once safety is reestablished we can begin to move from survival mode to healthy living.

Establishing Boundaries

When we experience trauma, our boundaries are violated, impacting our sense of self.  Boundaries are critical in the establishment of healthy sexual and intimate relationships.  Learning how to regain those boundaries is critical for healing.

Building Self Esteem and Self Confidence

Trauma shakes us to our very core and causes us to question everything we think or know about ourselves.  This impacts our relationship with self – which prevents us from feeling vulnerable with others. Building back our sense of self is especially important and happens by:

  • Letting go of those old stories we tell ourselves.
  • Reconnecting pieces of ourselves that have been damaged or lost.
  • Learning to love ourselves.

Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT)

Developed by Dr. Patrick Carnes, renowned sex educator and therapist, clinicians holding this credentialing specialize in working with clients with sexual compulsivity issues.  

We believe so highly in the importance of this specific area of need and the excellence this training program provides that we have provided the opportunity for multiple clinicians at The Bridge to Recovery to obtain this credentialing over the past few years.

Currently, Clinical Director Briana Sefcik is a licensed CCAT Therapist and works with clients at The Bridge to Recovery who would benefit from this work.

Just 45 minutes north from Nashville, Tennessee sits our healing refuge.

Hidden away on 115 acres of rolling Kentucky hills.

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About The Bridge To Recovery
The Bridge to Recovery is a transformational residential program located 45 minutes north of Nashville, Tennessee in beautiful rural Kentucky.  We provide hope, healing, and happiness to those suffering.
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